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If you get a 'no fault' notice

This advice applies to Wales

You’ll get a 'no fault' notice if your landlord gives you one of these forms:

  • Form RHW16
  • Form RHW17
  • Form RHW22
  • Form RHW24
  • Form RHW25
  • Form RHW38

Which one you get depends on why your landlord is giving you notice.

If you rent from the council or a housing association

If you’ve got Form RHW18 and you rent from the council or a housing association, you can find out what to do if you've got an eviction notice.

A no fault notice is the first step your landlord has to take to make you leave your home.

You won’t have to leave your home straight away. If your no fault notice is valid, your landlord will need to go to court to evict you.

You might be able to challenge your eviction and stay longer in your home.

You might have to pay court costs if you decide to challenge your eviction. You should make sure you have a good case before you decide to go to court.

If you get 2 notices

Your landlord could give you another type of notice called a ‘with grounds’ notice, as well as a no fault notice.

‘With grounds’ is a legal term - it means with a reason or cause. Your landlord has to give you a valid reason why they’re giving you this type of notice - for example, because you have serious rent arrears.

Forms RHW20, RHW21 and RHW23 are all with grounds notices. You could get more than one with grounds notice.

If you get a with grounds notice and a no fault notice

If you get a with grounds notice, don’t ignore it. You’ll need to deal with it as well as your no fault notice - and the steps are different.

Find out what to do if you've got a with grounds notice.

When you can get a no fault notice

Your landlord doesn’t need a reason for giving you a no fault notice - for example, they might just want to move back into the property.

You can get a no fault notice if you have one of these occupation contracts and it says in it that your landlord can give you a no fault notice:

  • a periodic standard contract
  • a fixed term standard contract
  • a converted standard contract

Occupation contracts replaced tenancies on 1 December 2022. If you’re not sure what kind of contract you have, check your written statement.

If your landlord gives you a no fault notice and you have a different kind of occupation contract, your notice won't be valid. You'll be able to challenge your eviction and stay in your home.

You don’t have to sign a no fault notice to prove you’ve received it - even if your landlord asks you to.

Check your no fault notice is valid

The first thing you should do is check your no fault notice is valid. If it isn't, you might be able to challenge it and stay in your home.

Check how much notice you've been given and when you were given it

Your no fault notice won’t be valid if your landlord either:

  • hasn’t given you enough notice
  • has given you your no fault notice at the wrong time

The amount of notice you should get and when your landlord can give it to you will depend on what kind of occupation contract you have.

If you have a periodic standard contract 

Your landlord usually has to give you at least 6 months' notice.

They only have to give you 2 months' notice if you live in university-owned housing or halls of residence.

Your notice won’t be valid if you got it within the first 6 months of living there.

If you have a converted periodic standard contract

If you had an assured shorthold tenancy that started before 1 December 2022 it has been converted to a periodic standard contract.

If your landlord gives you a no fault notice before 1 June 2023, they will usually have to give you at least 2 months' notice.

If your landlord gives you a no fault notice on or after 1 June 2023, they will have to give you 6 months' notice.

Your notice won’t be valid if you got it within the first 4 months of living there.

If you have a fixed term standard contract

You’ll have a fixed term contract if it:

  • started on or after 1 December 2022
  • has a definite start and end date

If you had a fixed term tenancy that started before 1 December 2022, you’ll have a converted fixed term standard contract.

How much notice you get depends on whether you have a break clause in your contract. You shouldn’t have a break clause if your contract is for less than 2 years.

If you’re not sure whether you have a break clause, check your written statement.

If you don’t have a break clause

Your landlord usually has to give you at least 2 months' notice. They can’t give it to you until the end of your fixed term.

Your notice won't be valid if you got it within the first 4 months of living there.

If you have a break clause

Either you or your landlord can end your tenancy early if you have a break clause.

Your landlord usually has to give you at least 6 months' notice. Your notice won't be valid if you got it within the first 18 months of your fixed term.

Your landlord can’t make you move out within the first 2 years of your fixed term.

If you have a converted fixed term standard contract

If you had a fixed term tenancy that started before 1 December 2022 it has automatically turned into a converted fixed term standard contract. This is because the law changed on 1 December 2022.

You’ll have a fixed term contract if it has a definite start and end date.

Your landlord usually has to give you at least 2 months' notice. When you can be given notice depends on whether you have a break clause in your contract.

If you don’t have a break clause

Your landlord can’t ask you to move out before the end of the fixed term.

Your no fault notice won’t be valid if you got it within either:

  • the first 4 months of the fixed term in your contract
  • 4 months of when your original tenancy started

If you have a break clause

Either you or your landlord can end your tenancy early if you have a break clause.

Your notice won't be valid if you got it within the first 4 months of your fixed term.

You can find the details of your break clause in your written statement.

Check other things that might mean your notice isn’t valid

You should make sure your new notice is valid.

If you’re being evicted because you asked for repairs

Your notice won’t be valid if your landlord is trying to evict you because you asked for repairs - this is known as ‘retaliatory eviction’.

You can find out what to do if you're being evicted because you asked for repairs.

If your landlord hasn’t given you a written statement

Your notice won’t be valid if your landlord hasn’t given you a written statement.

Written statements replaced tenancy agreements when the law changed in December 2022.

If you have a converted contract, in most situations your landlord must have given you a written statement by 1 June 2023.

There’s a slightly later deadline if there was a change of contract holder between 1 December 2022 and 31 May 2023. In this situation, your landlord had until 14 June 2023 to give you a written statement.

Examples of a change of contract holder include if:

  • you had a joint contract that changed to a sole contract because someone else moved out

  • you had a sole contract that changed to a joint contract because someone else moved in

  • you’ve taken over the contract of someone who’s died

  • your contract ended and became another type of contract - for example your fixed term ended and became a periodic contract

If your landlord gave you a written statement late

Your notice won’t be valid if you have a contract that started on or after 1 December 2022 and both of the following apply:

  • your landlord gave you a written statement more than 14 days after your contract started
  • it’s less than 6 months since you got the written statement from your landlord

If your landlord hasn’t given you their name and address

Your notice won’t be valid if your landlord hasn’t given you:

  • their name
  • an address where you can send them documents
  • their new address if it’s changed

Your landlord should send you this information using Form RHW2, Form RHW3 or Form RHW4.

You might be able to claim compensation from your landlord.

If your home doesn't have a working smoke alarm

If you have a periodic or fixed term standard contract, your notice won’t be valid if your landlord hasn’t installed a working smoke alarm on each floor of your home.

The smoke alarms must be connected to the electricity supply - not ones that have batteries.

If there’s more than one smoke alarm, they must be linked to each other - this means if an alarm in one room detects smoke, all the other alarms go off at the same time.

If you have a converted contract

Your landlord has until 1 December 2023 to install new smoke alarms in your home. If you get a notice before then, it might be valid if your landlord hasn’t installed them yet.

If your home doesn't have a working carbon monoxide alarm

Your notice won’t be valid if your landlord hasn’t placed a working carbon monoxide alarm in every room where there’s a gas appliance - for example a central heating boiler, cooker or heater.

If your landlord hasn’t given you an electrical safety report

If you have a periodic or fixed term standard contract, your notice won’t be valid if your landlord hasn’t given you an up to date electrical safety report.

Your landlord has to get any electrical fittings and appliances in your home inspected and tested by a qualified person every 5 years.

The person who does the inspection and testing will give your landlord an electrical safety report. Your landlord has to give you a copy of the report within 14 days.

If you have a converted contract

Your notice might be valid if your landlord hasn’t given you an electrical safety report. This is because they have until 1 December 2023 to do this.

If your landlord hasn’t given you a gas safety certificate

Your notice won’t be valid if your landlord hasn’t given you an up to date gas safety certificate.

Your landlord has to get any gas appliances in your home inspected and tested by a qualified person every 12 months. Gas appliances include central heating boilers, cookers or heaters that run on gas.

The person who does the inspection and testing will give your landlord a gas safety certificate.

Your landlord has to give you a copy of the most recent certificate before you move in. When they get a new certificate, they have to give you a copy within 28 days.

If your landlord hasn’t given you an energy performance certificate (EPC)

Your notice won’t be valid if your landlord didn’t give you the energy performance certificate for your home before they gave you the notice.

You can check if your home has an energy performance certificate on GOV.UK.

If your deposit hasn't been protected

If your landlord didn’t protect your deposit or they protected it late, your no fault notice won’t be valid - unless they’ve already given your deposit back to you.

Your deposit had to be protected within 30 days of when it was paid. Check if you're not sure whether your landlord protected your deposit.

Your landlord might also have to pay you compensation if they didn't protect your deposit. Read more about taking your landlord to court if your deposit isn't protected.

Not all deposits need to be protected. Your deposit doesn't need to be protected if you haven’t been offered an occupation contract - for example, if you're a lodger.

If you didn't get information about your deposit

Your no fault notice won’t be valid if your landlord didn’t give you certain details about your deposit before giving you the notice. These details are known as ‘prescribed information’.

Prescribed information includes:

  • a receipt for your deposit
  • your landlord's contact details
  • how to get your deposit back when you leave

You can check a list of the information landlords must give tenants on GOV.UK.

Not all deposits need to be protected. Your deposit doesn't need to be protected for example if you're a lodger.

Check when your landlord should have given you the prescribed information.

If your landlord charged fees during your contract

You might be able to challenge your eviction if you paid your landlord any fees. 

If you originally agreed your contract on or after 1 December 2022 your landlord can only charge you:

  • rent or utility bills
  • a damage deposit
  • a holding deposit
  • Council Tax
  • a TV licence
  • for breaking the terms of your written statement - as long as the fee is described in the written statement

If you have a converted standard contract, the same applies if you agreed your original tenancy on or after 1 September 2019.

If your landlord charged you for anything else, talk to an adviser - they could help you challenge your eviction.

If your landlord hasn’t registered or got the right licence

Your no fault notice might not be valid if:

  • your landlord hasn't registered their details
  • your landlord or letting agent hasn't got a licence for your home

You can search the public register on the Rent Smart Wales website to find out if your landlord has registered and got a licence.

If your home is managed by a letting agent, you’ll need to check if they’ve got a licence. All you’ll need is your address or your landlord or letting agent’s details.

Your home might also need another type of licence, for example if you live in a shared house, bedsit or hostel. Read more about what to do if you have a problem with your shared house.

Your council might have extra laws about what types of properties should be licensed. You can ask your local council if you’re not sure whether your home needs a licence - find your local council on GOV.UK.

You should challenge your eviction if your landlord hasn’t registered or the letting agent managing the property doesn’t have a licence.

If your no fault notice has a mistake on it

Your no fault notice might not be valid if your landlord has made a mistake on it, for example if they’ve put the wrong name or date.

Check your no fault notice to make sure your name and address are correct.

You should also check the name and contact details of your landlord or letting agent are correct.

If your no fault notice isn't on an official form

Your notice won’t be valid if your landlord hasn’t given it to you in writing, using a proper form. This type of form is sometimes called a 'prescribed' form.

You can find the forms on the Wales government website.

If your break clause is unfair

Your notice won’t be valid if you have an unfair break clause in your contract.

You might have a break clause if you have a fixed term contract, or a converted fixed term contract. Check your written statement if you’re not sure whether you’ve got one.

If you have got a break clause, it should say that both you and your landlord can use it. It could be unfair if it says only your landlord can use it.

If your landlord applied for possession more than 2 months after the date on your notice

Check the date in part D of your notice, where it says ‘Notice to give up possession’. Your notice is no longer valid if your landlord applied for possession more than 2 months after that date.

If your notice isn't valid, your landlord will have to give you a new one.

If your no fault is valid

Your landlord can’t make you leave your home unless they’ve gone to court to get a possession order and a warrant for eviction - this means they can use court bailiffs to evict you. If they try to force you to leave before this, it’s an illegal eviction - talk to an adviser for help to challenge it.

Your landlord can only go to court after the date the no fault notice says you have to leave.

If you’ve got a good relationship with your landlord, it might be worth asking them if you can stay in your home for longer. Send a letter to your landlord explaining your situation and keep a copy of any reply you get.

When your landlord goes to court, you might be able to ask the court to let you stay in your home for longer. You’ll need to get papers from the court before you can ask to stay in your home for longer.

If you decide to leave your home

Don’t leave your home before the date on your no fault notice if you haven’t found somewhere else to live.

You can ask your local council for help as soon as you get a no fault notice - they might be able to:

  • help you stay in your home
  • find somewhere else for you to live

You can also find out what other help you can get if you’re being evicted.

If you’ve found somewhere else to live and you want to move before the date on your no fault notice, ask your landlord if you can agree on an earlier date.

If you can’t agree, you can give your landlord notice - you’ll probably only have to give 4 weeks' notice.

Keep paying your rent

It’s important that you keep paying your rent until the day your contract ends. If you're leaving and you've paid all your agreed rent, ask your landlord to write to you confirming that your contract has ended and you’ve paid everything you owe. Both you and your landlord should sign it.

If you don’t pay your rent, your landlord could take you to court to get back any unpaid rent you owe. They could also refuse to give you a reference or give you a bad one, which could make finding another home difficult.

If your no fault notice isn't valid

You’ll be able to stay in your home and challenge your eviction if your landlord hasn’t given you a valid no fault notice.

Your landlord will have to give you a new, valid notice if they still want you to leave your home.

When your landlord can give you a new notice

Your landlord can only give you a new notice if they’ve already withdrawn the old one - they should let you know in writing when they do this.

Your landlord can only withdraw your old notice if it’s less than 4 weeks since they gave it to you.

Your new notice will have the same amount of notice as the old one.

If it’s more than 4 weeks since you got the old notice

Your landlord must get your permission to give you a new notice. If you don’t give them permission, they should wait 6 months before they can give it to you.

If they send a new notice without your permission, you should write to them and say it isn't valid because:

  • they sent it more than 4 weeks after they gave you the old notice
  • you haven’t given them permission to give you a new notice

Keep a copy of your letter.

When to tell your landlord your notice isn’t valid

If you can, wait at least 4 weeks from the day you got your notice before you tell your landlord it isn’t valid. If you do this, your landlord can’t give you a new notice for at least 6 months. This means you can stay in your home for longer.

If you can’t wait 4 weeks, your landlord still has to withdraw your old notice before they give you a new one.

Talk to an adviser if your no fault notice isn’t valid and you’re not sure what to do next.

Challenge your eviction

You might be able to challenge your eviction if your no fault notice isn't valid or you have a good reason why you shouldn't leave your home. This is called 'defending possession'.

You'll need to wait until you get papers from the court before you can challenge your eviction.

If you get court papers

If you don’t leave your home by the date on your no fault notice - for example because you want to challenge it - you’ll get papers from the court.

The papers will include:

  • a copy of the form your landlord filled in when they started the claim – this is called the ‘claim form’
  • a form to tell the court if you disagree with what the landlord has said – this is called a 'defence form'

You’ll get the court papers because your landlord is taking action to make you leave your home. This is known as starting a ‘possession claim’.

The court will decide whether you need to leave your home.

Paying court costs

You might have to pay your landlord’s court costs if your landlord starts a possession claim. Court costs can be expensive.

You might be able to get legal aid to help you with your case, for example if you’re on a low income or get benefits.

If you get legal aid, you might get protection from paying your landlord’s costs if you can’t afford them.

Read more about getting help with legal costs.

Write down why you’re challenging the eviction

You can challenge your no fault notice if for example:

  • you weren’t given enough notice
  • your deposit wasn’t protected

If you can, talk to an adviser before you challenge your eviction.

What you need to do is different if your landlord’s using the accelerated procedure – check if it says ‘accelerated procedure’ at the top of the claim form.

If your landlord is using the accelerated procedure

Use the defence form that came with the court papers to give your reasons for challenging your no fault notice. You can also find a copy of the defence form on GOV.UK – it’s called form N11B Wales.

If you disagree with something the landlord said in the claim form, you should explain this in your defence form. The court might decide to have a court hearing to decide who is right.

Tell the court if you think you might be able to reach an agreement with your landlord. If your landlord is willing to negotiate, the court might give you more time and help you reach an agreement.

If your landlord isn't using the accelerated procedure

You can use the defence form that came with the court papers to give your reasons for challenging your eviction.

If your landlord gave you the notice before 1 December 2022, you’ll get defence form ‘N11R’ with the court papers. You can find a copy of the defence form N11R on GOV.UK.

If your landlord gave you the notice on or after 1 December 2022, you’ll get defence form ‘N11R Wales’. You can find a copy of the defence form N11R Wales on GOV.UK.

If you find it difficult to use the defence form, write what you want to say on a piece of paper instead. Write your case number on the piece of paper – you can find your case number on the claim form.

It's best to give as much detail as possible – the court will look at what you say to decide whether you can stay in your home.

If your landlord wins you’ll usually have to pay the costs of your landlord going to court. If the court decides you should pay the costs, you’ll usually have to pay them within 14 days of the court hearing.

You should say in your defence if you will need to pay the court costs over a longer time - for example by making a smaller payment every month. Answer the questions about your income and spending and explain why you’ll need longer to pay.

If you think your landlord has discriminated against you

If your landlord has treated you unfairly because of who you are, you might be able to defend your eviction. For example, they might be evicting you because you’re gay, or because they don’t want to make changes for your disability.

Check if your problem counts as discrimination to find out whether you can add it to your eviction defence.

If the reason you're being evicted is connected to your disability

You might be able to challenge the eviction. For example if you’re being evicted for rent arrears, but the reason you got into rent arrears was because your learning difficulty made it hard to follow your landlord’s payment policy.

You might be able to defend your eviction using discrimination law.

If you're being evicted because you complained about discrimination before

This could be a type of discrimination called victimisation. You might be able to defend your eviction using discrimination law - check if your housing problem is discrimination.

Delaying the date you’ll need to leave

If the court issues a possession order, the order will usually say you need to leave your home within 14 days.

You should use the form to explain why leaving within 14 days could cause you 'exceptional hardship' - for example if you have a serious illness or disability. You should do this even if your no fault notice is valid. If your landlord doesn’t agree to this, the court might arrange a hearing to decide if you can stay longer.

If the court agrees that leaving your home would cause you exceptional hardship, they could delay the date you’ll need to leave by up to 6 weeks (42 days).

Send your defence to the court

You should send your defence to the court within 14 days - the address will be on the form. It’s worth keeping a copy for your records.

You should still send your defence if you miss the deadline. The court might still consider it if they haven’t made a decision yet.

If you have a court hearing, you should still go - even if you haven’t sent your defence. It's more likely you'll be able to stay in your home if you do.

Check what happens after you send your defence

The process is different if your landlord’s using the accelerated procedure – check if it says ‘accelerated procedure’ at the top of the claim form.

If your landlord is using the accelerated procedure

Your landlord can ask the court to make a decision 14 days after the court papers were sent. Your defence will be considered by the court if you get the form to them in time. The court's judge will do one of the following:

  • issue a possession order – this means that you’ll have to leave your home
  • give you a date to go to court – this is called a possession hearing
  • dismiss the case - this means you can stay in your home

The court will usually only arrange a hearing or dismiss a case if there’s a problem with your landlord’s paperwork, or your landlord made a mistake following the procedure.

If you have a possession hearing, you'll get a letter telling you when and where the hearing is.

If your landlord isn't using the accelerated procedure

You’ll be sent a date for a court hearing. The date of the hearing should be within 8 weeks of the court sending you the papers.

You can find the date of the court hearing on the claim form sent to you in your court papers.

Preparing for your possession hearing

Read all the documents you've been given by the court and your landlord. Take any evidence you have to the court, for example:

  • a letter or email from the 3 tenancy deposit schemes showing that your deposit wasn’t protected or protected late
  • a letter from your local council saying that the property isn’t licensed if it should be
  • a letter from your GP saying that you would suffer exceptional hardship if you have to leave within 14 days

The evidence you have will depend on your case.

You'll be able to take someone with you for support, for example a friend or family member. They might not be able to speak for you in court.

If you can’t go to the possession hearing, tell the court as soon as possible. Explain why you can’t go – for example because you have to self-isolate. The court might:

  • arrange for the hearing to happen by phone or video call
  • change the date of the hearing

You can check how to prepare if the court decides to arrange a hearing by phone or video call.

You can get a lawyer to represent you in court. If you’ve got no income or a low income, you might be able to get legal aid to help you with the cost. Check if you can get help with legal costs on GOV.UK.

On the day of the hearing, you’ll be able to talk to a free legal adviser called a ‘duty adviser’ – it doesn’t matter how much income you have. Before the date of the possession hearing, read the letters from the court and make sure you know how to contact the duty adviser on the day of the hearing.

If you can’t contact the duty adviser on the day of the hearing, tell the usher or the judge before the hearing starts – the judge might agree to delay the hearing.

Talk to an adviser to find out what legal advice you can get.

Getting a decision from the court

You'll be told by the court if you can stay in your home or if you'll have to leave.

If you have a court hearing, you'll be told the decision at the hearing. If you don't have a court hearing, the court will send a letter telling you their decision.

Talk to an adviser if you get a possession order.

If you have to leave

You normally won't have to leave your home straight away. You'll get a notice from the court telling you when you’re supposed to leave. This is called an 'outright possession order'.

You'll usually be given 14 days to leave, but it could be longer.

You can appeal against the decision of the possession order, but only if you can prove that mistakes were made in the possession hearing. For example, if the court didn't look at relevant information or used the wrong law.

Talk to an adviser if you think the court should look at your case again.

If the court accepts your defence, they could decide to dismiss your landlord's case. This means you'll stay in your home without any conditions.

If you don’t leave your home

If bailiffs are coming

Talk to an adviser straight away if you've been told bailiffs are coming to your home.

Your landlord will have to get an eviction warrant from the court if you don't leave your home by the date on the possession order. This means they can ask the court to send ‘enforcement officers’ to make you leave.

Enforcement officers are also known as bailiffs. Bailiffs are employed by the court to help landlords get their property back.

You'll usually be told by the bailiffs when they're coming to evict you. Your landlord could ask the high court to send bailiffs - if they do this, you might not be told they’re coming.

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